Jul 20, 2024  
Undergraduate Record 2023-2024 
    
Undergraduate Record 2023-2024 [ARCHIVED RECORD]

Politics


Requirements for Majors


Before declaring their major in either Government or Foreign Affairs, students must fulfill the prerequisite requirement by completing at least six credits (two courses) of work in the Politics Department with no grade below C and a cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of 2.50 in these Politics courses. When they are ready to declare their major, students should consult the Politics web site and meet with the undergraduate assistant, Sharon Marsh, in Gibson S183.

Government


The Government major requires 30 credits of course work, as specified below, including the six prerequisite hours. No more than nine credits taken at the 1000-level may be counted toward the major. At least fifteen credits of course work in the department must be earned at the 3000-level and above. At least three of these must be earned at the 4000 or 5000-level. A grade of C or better is necessary in any course counted toward the major. Up to six transfer credits may be counted as Politics courses for the major, and another six towards the Related Course requirement.

In addition, the Government major has the following requirements:

The Distribution Requirement: Three credits in each of the following:

  1. American Politics
  2. Comparative Politics
  3. International Relations
  4. Political Theory

(Majors should complete this requirement by the end of their third year)

The Track Requirement:

  1. Students choosing the PLAP track must take nine additional credits in PLAP
  2. Students choosing the PLPT track must take nine additional credits in PLPT

Electives:

  • The remaining nine credits required for the Government major may come from departmental offerings in any of the four fields, depending on student interests and objectives.

Related Course Requirement:

  • In addition to the 30 credits required in the Department of Politics, 12 credits of courses are required in closely related disciplines, such as history, philosophy, the social sciences, and, in appropriate cases, in other related subjects. No more than six of these credits should be taken at the 1000 and 2000-levels. Students should seek to construct their related course “package” in consultation with their major advisor in such a way that it contributes to their major subject field in as direct a fashion as possible.
  • Batten students with a 2nd major in Government or Foreign Affairs may not count any politics courses that are fulfilling the 30 credits (distribution, concentration and/or elective credits) toward their Batten special topics requirements. However, Batten major courses can count toward the 12 credits of related coursework for the Government or Foreign Affairs 2nd major. All Batten students with a Government or Foreign Affairs 2nd major should consult with the Director of Undergraduate Programs to ensure they are properly fulfilling requirements for both majors. 

Foreign Affairs


The Foreign Affairs major requires 30 credits of course work, as specified below, including the six prerequisite credits. No more than nine credits taken at the 1000-level may be counted toward the major. At least fifteen credits of course work in the department must be earned at the 3000-level and above. At least three of these must be earned at the 4000 or 5000-level. A grade of C or better is necessary in any course counted toward the major. Up to six transfer credits may be counted as Politics courses for the major, and another six towards the Related Course requirement.

In addition, the Foreign Affairs concentration has the following requirements:

The Distribution Requirement: Three credits in each of the following:

  1. American Politics
  2. Comparative Politics
  3. International Relations
  4. Political Theory

(Majors should complete this requirement by the end of their third year)

The Track Requirement:

  • Students must take nine additional credits in PLCP and/or PLIR.

Electives:

  • The remaining nine credits required for the government major may come from departmental offerings in any of the four fields, depending on student interests and objectives.

Related Course Requirement:

  • In addition to the 30 credits required in the Department of Politics, 12 credits are required in closely related disciplines, such as history, philosophy, the social sciences, and, in appropriate cases, in other related subjects. No more than six of these credits should be taken at the 1000 and 2000-levels. Students should seek to construct their related course “package” in consultation with their major advisor in such a way that it contributes to their major subject field in as direct a fashion as possible. 
  • Batten students with a 2nd major in Government or Foreign Affairs may not count any politics courses that are fulfilling the 30 credits (distribution, concentration and/or elective credits) toward their Batten special topics requirements. However, Batten major courses can count toward the 12 credits of related coursework for the Government or Foreign Affairs 2nd major. All Batten students with a Government or Foreign Affairs 2nd major should consult with the Director of Undergraduate Programs to ensure they are properly fulfilling requirements for both majors. 

Requirements for Minors


A minor program in politics consists of at least 15 credits of course work taken at the University in at least two of the four fields of the department, with a grade of C or better. At least nine credits must be in one field. Of the 15 credits, no more than six may be taken at the introductory (1000) level. At least three credits must be taken at the 4000 or 5000 level. No advanced placement or transfer credit is allowed for a minor.

Students taking the minor in government or foreign affairs should fill out a minor application found on the Department of Politics webpage and take it to the Undergraduate Assistant for approval. The department’s rules for satisfactory standing apply.

Honors Program


The Department of Politics Honors Program is designed for students with an outstanding record of academic achievement. Its curriculum emphasizes the development of reading, writing, and analytical skills through close interaction with faculty in the Department of Politics. The program offers students unusual flexibility and autonomy to pursue their intellectual goals in creative goals. After being admitted into the program students may elect to take any or all of their courses on an ungraded basis. Application Requirements: Second-year students with strong academic records, enthusiasm for independent research, and an aptitude for critical thought are encouraged to apply during the second semester of their second year. Most students admitted into the program have at least a 3.7 GPA before they enter the program at the beginning of their third year.

Application materials include: 1) Two short essays, each one discussing an idea or issue in politics that the student would like to investigate during your time in the Honors program.; 2) A UVA transcript (SIS); 3) Two graded papers preferably from the courses in the Politics Department that demonstrate the student’s analytical capabilities; 4) Two letters of recommendation from faculty at the University; 5) A resume listing the students’ academic, extra-curricular and employment credentials. The application deadline is February 16.

Honors Program Curriculum: Beginning in the fall semester of their third year, approximately six students are admitted to the program. Each semester, they take an intensive seminar in one of four subfields: American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, and Political Theory. Each seminar includes regular assignments to write critical reviews. Faculty tutors provide students with regular construction evaluation of their work. At the end of each semester, faculty tutors submit a detailed, written evaluation of each student’s performance. Each seminar is worth nine credit hours.

During the Spring of their third year, students take an Honors Thesis Workshop. This thesis workshop covers topics such as framing research questions, the strengths and weaknesses of case studies and other research designs in supporting arguments, and assessments of the relative strengths of different approaches to political analysis. By the end of the Spring semester, students are required to complete a prospectus that provides a detailed plan for their research and writing. Students receive three credit hours for completing the Proseminar, which is taken on pass/fail basis.

During their fourth year, students select a faculty advisor for their Honors thesis. Students may receive up to six credit hours for working on their projects. The thesis is due on April 19th. Each year, a faculty committee selects the best thesis for the John White Stevenson Prize which includes a cash award.

In addition to the above requirements, honors students are required to take six elective courses. These may be taken on a Pass-Fail basis or for a grade at the student’s discretion.

Student Evaluations: an outside examining committee is convened by the Honors Program Director. The committee administers written examinations in each of the four subfields and conducts oral exams for all fourth-year students. The committee assesses the results of these exams together with written evaluations for the core seminars and honors theses in deciding the level of honors each student should receive. The committee may award Highest Honors, High Honors, Honors, or pass the student without honors.

For more information on the Politics Honors Program, see the program website https://politics.virginia.edu/honors-program

The Distinguished Majors Program


Students of high academic achievement are eligible for the department’s Distinguished Majors Program (DMP). Students completing the program graduate with distinction, high distinction, or highest distinction. A prerequisite of three credits of course work in the department and departmental and University GPA’s of 3.40 or above are required for admission. Students wishing to apply should submit an application form, a statement of interest in the DMP, a copy of their current transcript, and two sealed letters of recommendation from faculty members. Students may apply in the second semester of their third year. The application deadline is April 1.

GPA Requirements


Students in the DMP must maintain grade point averages of 3.40 or better, both cumulatively and in the department.

Requirements of the DMP


Students in the DMP are required to take 3 credits in the Department as a prerequisite plus 30 credits in the major. These 30 credits must include: (1) At least 15 credits at the 4000 and 5000 levels including six credits of PLAD 4960. (2) Courses to satisfy general departmental distribution rules for Government or Foreign Affairs majors.

The DMP Seminar


In the fall semester, members of the DMP will meet weekly to discuss issues related to conceptualizing, researching, and writing social-science theses. In the spring semester, members of the DMP will meet regularly but not weekly to present their preliminary hypotheses and findings to the seminar.

The DMP Thesis


Students in the DMP are required to write a thesis of high quality, earning six credits, during the fourth year. The thesis courses, PLAD 4960 and 4961 are a linked set that make up a year-long course, carrying a total of six credits, and graded at the end of the second semester. Students are responsible for obtaining a faculty member to serve as their thesis advisor for both semesters of the PLAD 4960-4961 sequence. Complete first drafts of theses must be submitted by April 1; the final deadline for completed theses, reflecting all revisions, is the third week of April, on a date set each year by the director.

Program Evaluations


Students who successfully complete the requirements of the DMP will be evaluated according to the following rankings: Distinction, High Distinction, or Highest Distinction. Evaluations will be based on the following: (l) quality of the thesis, (2) overall work in major field of study, (3) overall College record.

Faculty thesis readers will forward evaluations to the Department’s DMP faculty director, will review the evaluations and students’ records, and forward recommendations to the College Committee on Special Programs.

Superior thesis will be nominated by faculty advisors for the Emmerich-Wright Prize, which is given annually to the outstanding thesis, as determined by a faculty committee. The prize carries a cash award.

For more information on the Department’s DMP, contact David Waldner: daw4h@virginia.edu 

Additional Information


For more information, contact Sharon Marsh, Assistant to the Undergraduate Director, Department of Politics, S162 Gibson Hall, P.O. Box 400787, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4787; (434) 924-3604; https://politics.virginia.edu

Course Descriptions